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Lumbar Laminectomy

A laminectomy is spine surgery performed to alleviate lower back pain (lumbar pain). It works by removing all of the lamina, the back part of the vertebra that covers the spinal canal, in order to relieve pressure on the nerve roots and / or spinal cord and provide more space for them to heal and move freely. Laminectomy is a form of decompression surgery.

Pain in the lower back and neck is often caused by damaged spinal discs and bone spurs that protrude into the spinal canal. This is common in patients who have suffered damage to the vertebrae or who have certain conditions affecting the spine, including arthritis and spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis is a condition characterized by enlarged facet joints in the vertebrae that place pressure on nearby nerve roots. It is caused by degenerative changes that occur as a person ages.

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Spine Surgery: What to Expect

In determining whether laminectomy is an option for treating an underlying condition, our board-certified spine surgeons look closely at several factors, including:

  • A patient’s medical history
  • Pain, weakness, or numbness in the neck, back, or extremities that limits mobility and creates limitations for daily activity
  • Persistent pain and limited motion that has not improved with non-surgical treatment

Diagnostic testing, such as MRIs, can be used to determine the severity of any underlying problem and whether it will respond to surgery. In some cases, a laminectomy may need to be performed as part of surgery to remove portions of a herniated disc (discectomy), as removing the lamina will allow a surgeon to access and remove disc fragments.

During the procedure, an incision will be made to allow a surgeon to access and remove the lamina, and see nerve roots in the spine. Facet joints may also be partially removed or trimmed in order to provide impinged nerve roots with more space. Muscles are then sewn together to cover the laminectomy site. In some procedures, spinal fusion may also be performed in order to stabilize sections of the affected spine. This procedure involves the fusing of vertebrae to prevent recurring problems and reduce pain.

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Surgical patients who come to the Center for Spine at Hoag Orthopedic Institute benefit not only from board-certified spine doctor trained in the most advanced techniques, but also a team of specialists who focus on their overall health and well-being. This includes dedicated care team who provide pre- and post-surgery education to ensure a faster recovery, as well as pain management and physical therapy specialists who assist patients as they heal and return to a more active and healthier life.

To find a spine surgeon and request an appointment, visit our online physician directory.

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